More wonderful news from the SGV! It appears that the I-10 Active Commute, Healthy Community (ACHC) Project, developed by BikeSGV under the lead of the City of El Monte, will be launched in the coming months thanks to Metro ExpressLanes Toll Revenue. The comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional outreach and education program seeks to improve public health, community connections, air quality, economic development, and sustainability by encouraging greater use of active and public transportation along the I-10 corridor in the San Gabriel Valley.
Led by the City of El Monte and developed by BikeSGV, the project will accelerate the use of active transportation along the I-10 by utilizing the following key strategies in the communities of El Monte, South El Monte, Baldwin Park, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Rosemead, Avocado Heights, South San Gabriel and West Puente Valley:
Working in tandem, these strategies are designed to capitalize on existing momentum along the corridor around active transportation planning and policy (e.g., SGV Regional Bicycle Master Plan Project) by informing project area residents about the many benefits of active and public transportation; empowering residents to use a bicycle as a form healthy, inexpensive transportation in conjunction with public transit; introducing the public to zero emission electric bicycles; and providing project area residents, especially youth and low-income individuals, a space to learn how to maintain and receive low/no cost bicycles.
E-Bikes in the SGV
E-bike education, outreach and incentives will inform community members about an innovative active transportation option that has become increasingly affordable and convenient. Various e-bike models (e.g., folding, women’s, commuter w/ panniers) will be brought to outreach events to highlight new technology to the public, used by program staff to attend meetings/events, and made available for test rides. After completing an ACHC course, qualified residents will be eligible for a $350 discount voucher on select models while supplies last. By showcasing to the public firsthand how these low-cost electric vehicles can be used to replace short trips and in conjunction with transit, these efforts will help accelerate local adoption of this sustainable transportation alternative within the I-10 corridor.
The project’s E-Bike incentive and education program will be the first of its kind in Los Angeles County, and likely the state of California. The program will inform the public about the benefits of relatively low cost, “zero emission” electric bicycles as alternatives to more expensive electric motorcycles and automobiles, allow local residents to test ride one of several different models, and provide a financial incentive ($350 discount off of selected models) to residents of the project area who are ready to purchase one for commuting.
Thanks to dramatic improvements in the relative cost, performance (i.e. range) and comfort over the past few years, e-bikes are growing in popularity around the world. IKEA has just begun selling an electric commuting bicycle with rear rack, the “Folkvanlig”, which retails at about $1,000 (750 euros), offers a 37-45 mile range off a 6 hour charge in a standard outlet, and will likely be rolled out to US based stores within a year. Several manufacturers also now make electric folding bicycles, providing an opportunity to integrate bikes on buses without burdening the bus rack system. In short, now is an opportune moment to promote the use of this emerging technology as a sustainable, efficient and cost-effective alternative to other modes of transportation, especially when used in conjunction with public transit.
Still rare in the region, e-bikes are also particularly well-suited for segments of the public who would not otherwise consider active transportation options for commuting. Examples include persons who have trouble climbing hills (e.g., elderly, less fit) or live in hilly neighborhoods, have longer commutes, are time pressed, are interested in electric vehicles but unable/willing to purchase a more costly EV, and/or want to arrive at work without sweating. E-bikes address all of these issues, yet still suffer from a stigma in the United States that bicycles are a way to exercise rather than a mode of transport. The proposed innovative project will address these perceptions through educational outreach and financial incentives.
On On July 17th the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG) recognized BikeSGV with the Jack Phillips Award for innovation in the SGV. Program Director Javier Hernandez and Development Director Wes Reutimann - pictured right with Duarte Council Member and 21 year Metro Board Director John Fasana (recipient of the Consensus Building Award) and South Pasadena Council Member Michael Cacciotti - graciously accepted the honor on behalf of the organization. Many thanks to the SGVCOG for the recognition, and more importantly, its recent, major strides to support Active Transportation in the San Gabriel Valley.
The City of Pasadena has released a formal report on the potential cost and impact of implementing the City's first protected bike lanes. Developed by the same firm that assisted the cities of Long Beach and Temple City construct their first Class I, on-street bike lanes - KOA Corporation - the study examines 7 potential major thoroughfares to receive the gold standard in safety: Washington, Orange Grove, Villa, Colorado, Union, Green, and Del Mar.
The report is in part the result of a process set off by local residents galvanized by the death of Phillip O'Neill, who was struck and killed by a motorist while bicycling west on Del Mar Blvd. in June 2013. Phillip's tragic death was the third fatal collision in the City in three years, following the deaths of Alan Deane who was killed by a driver that failed to yield while making a left turn on Colorado Blvd and Jocelyn Young, the victim of a fatal DUI hit-and-run on Los Robles Ave.
Collision data from the CA Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) indicates that such incidents are far too common in Pasadena. In fact, the most recent safety data reveals that the City has one of the worst safety records insofar as pedestrians and bicyclists are concerned in the entire state of California. Pasadena had the 4th highest number of collisions involving pedestrians and automobiles, and 5th highest involving bicyclists and automobiles, among 55 similarly sized California cities.
A Protected East-West Passage
In August 2013 this realization and a draft bicycle plan that relied heavily on Class III bicycle routes on high-speed arterials prompted the City's Municipal Services Committee to direct Department of Transportation staff to identify an east-west corridor that would be well-suited for a protected bike lane. KOA subsequently studied 7 potential east-west streets, from north to south, Washington, Orange Grove, Villa, Union, Colorado, Green, and Del Mar.
The resulting report includes data on existing traffic volumes, parking spaces, traffic lanes, and street widths, and then estimated the cost and impact to automobile vehicular capacity of different types of bicycle infrastructure (e.g., buffered bike lane, protected bike lane - aka "cycle track"). However, it is largely informational, with no specific recommendations being made insofar as which roadway would be best suited for a protected bikeway.